The Black Prince’s Ruby

Spinel Crystal

Image by Orbital Joe via Flickr

English: Imperial State Crown of Great Britain...

Image via Wikipedia


Image via Wikipedia


Above the Cullinan II diamond in the British Imperial state crown is The Black Prince’s Ruby, which in fact is not a ruby at all, but a Spinel. No one knows when this spectacular stone was mined, but the location is probably the balas ruby mines (balas ruby is another name for Spinel) in Badakhstan near the border of Afganistan.

This gigantic Spinel was first recorded as owned by a Moorish prince, Abu Said, who ruled the city of Granada, in southern Spain. Pedro the Cruel ruled Castile, in the north, and wanted to drive the muslims out of Spain, so Pedro invited Abu Said to his city to talk the terms of the moors surrender. 

At the castle, Pedro murdered Said and took the Spinel off his dead body. Later, Pedro’s brother led a revolt against him and so Pedro was forced to ask for military help from the Black Prince of England. Pedro promised to pay for the military expenses. 

After Pedro’s victory, he refused to pay, so the Black Prince confiscated the Spinel. That’s how the Spinel wound up in England.


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